Sandakada Pahana ෴ සඳකඩ පහන
Sandakada Pahana, also known as Moonstone, is a unique feature of the architecture of ancient Sri Lanka. It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada pahana evolved through the Polonnaruwa, Gampola and Kandyan period. According to historians, the sandakada pahana symbolises the cycle of Samsāra in Buddhism.
The carvings of the semi-circular stone slab were the same in every sandakada pahana. A half lotus was carved in the center, which was enclosed by several concentric bands. The first band from the half lotus is decorated with a procession of swans, followed by a band with an intricate foliage design known as liyavel. The third band has carvings of four animals; elephants, lions, horses, and bulls. These four animals follow each other in a procession symbolizing the four stages in life: growth, energy, power, and forbearance. The fourth and outermost band contains a carving of flames, usually interpreted as representing a fire altar.
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